GRAY, Georgia (41NNC/WMGT) - Day three of the Pamela Moss murder trial was a battle of the mental health experts. A psychologist on the stand testified one of Moss' alter egos admitted Wednesday morning to killing Henry County businessman Douglas Coker.
The state called its 22nd and final witness, Capt. Earl Humphries of the Jones County Sheriff's Office. Once again, defense attorney Frank Hogue did not object to any testimony and did not cross examine the witness.
After prosecutors rested their case, Hogue called his one and only witness, clinical psychologist Dr. Anthony Levitas, who diagnosed Moss with dissociative identity disorder (DID), also known as multiple personality disorder. He explained people who suffered from DID were usually abused as children, most likely sexual abuse, and are more likely to commit suicide. Moss told him her step-father sexually abused her as a child, Levitas testifed.
During his own evaluation of Moss, Levitas told jurors he spoke to an alter ego named Carol, who was more authoritative and matter of fact compared to the shy and reserved Pamela. Levitas testified Carol told him she and Pam did not kill Coker.
Moss was not present in the courtroom during the proceedings. Before court began, Levitas met with Moss and was introduced to a third alter ego he had never met before named Caroline, he testified. He told jurors Caroline confessed to killing Coker.
Levitas said Caroline told him she remembered lying on the ground and a man was standing on top of her, holding her arm, and he had some kind of object in his hand, like a curtain rod. He testified Caroline felt like their lives were threatened so she hit him and she remembered seeing blood. Levitas also told jurors Caroline gave Pamela a list of items to buy, like the bleach and gloves, from the grocery store.
Levitas told jurors he thought this new alter was very real.
"She would have to be a very good actress to pull this off," he testifed.
He added he believed Pam knows the difference between right from wrong, but says Caroline may not. 41NBC's Amanda Castro asked Hogue if he thought the timing of this new alter ego was relevant.
"I would say unfortunate that its only just now coming out but dissociative identity disorder is rare as you've heard. I don't know how it unfolds, how people reveal, how these alters come out, so it might just be unusual but the whole thing is unusual," Hogue said.
Dr. Darcy Shore, a court appointed forensic psychologist, was also called to the stand. She testified Moss knew right from wrong and showed no signs of delusions on the day of the murder. Jones County District Attorney Fred Bright says her findings are proven in the evidence the state presented.
"She had a clear state of mind and knew exactly what she was doing, not only in killing Mr. Coker by beating him with that hammer at least five times, according to the medical examiner, but everything she did afterwards to hide the body, the lime, the bleach, the paint, feeling from the scene, throwing out his phone," Bright said. "The case is saturated with evidence that she knew exactly what she was doing."
During cross examination, Shores did say having DID did not mean a person has delusions. She did agree with Hogue that DID is a mental illness, both in the clinical and legal definitions.
Hogue is seeking a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. He says he does not dispute the state's case that Moss killed Coker. He must prove Moss was under a delusional compulsion when she committed the allegedly committed the crime, meaning if the delusion had really happened then her actions would be justified—for example, if she felt her life was in danger and killed Coker in self defense. Hogue believes the jury could come back with a guilty but mentally ill verdict.
If Moss is found guilty or guilty but mentally ill, she could be sentenced to life in prison or life in prison without parole. If the jury finds her not guilty by reason of insanity, she would be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment.
Court resumes Thursday. The state and defense will give their closing arguments and then the jury can start deliberations.
Stay with 41NBC and 41NBC.com for updates on this developing story.